GAO Examines State Unemployment Systems

The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) recently surveyed state Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs in 50 states and the District of Columbia (with 48 responding); interviewed officials from state UI programs and advocacy groups; and conducted six focus groups with recent UI claimants in these three states.

The agency examined:

  1. Customer service challenges, if any, recent UI claimants have faced and the extent to which states collect information on claimants’ challenges.
  2. Any challenges states have faced providing customer service to claimants, and any improvements they have made, and
  3. The extent to which DOL monitors states’ customer service efforts and provides assistance to help them make improvements.

In focus groups of recent claimants filing for UI benefits, the GAO found that those who filed by phone reported experiencing various challenges, such as long call wait times; however, those filing for benefits online reported that it was generally easy to do.

The full report is available here